James Bain, PhD

Faculty Member, Duke Molecular Physiology Institute and Sarah W. Stedman Nutrition and Metabolism Center

Position

Senior Fellow Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, Associate Professor Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Nutrition Duke University Medical Center

Contact

Carmichael Building

919 479 2320

james.bain@duke.edu

Summary

James Bain is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine (Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, and Nutrition), a Senior Fellow in the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development, and a faculty member in the Sarah W. Stedman Nutrition and Metabolism Center and the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute. He develops and deploys methods for exploratory, "non-targeted" metabolomics, with emphasis on diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and health effects of the gut microbiota. His collaboration with Agilent Technologies, Inc., and Duke's Dr. Michael J. Muehlbauer has produced one of the world's largest retention-time-locked spectral libraries of metabolites for use in gas chromatography/mass spectrometry. He is especially interested in how metabolism impacts health outcomes in the perinatal period and late in life. 

PhD, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

During ten-plus years of development of our Stedman Metabolomics Laboratory, my colleagues and I have collaborated with hundreds of investigators, worldwide, while maintaining a strong focus on diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and other human conditions characterized by metabolic dysregulation (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9).  Our lab has developed quantitative, targeted metabolomic assays (1,10) covering such major groups of intermediary metabolites as amino acids, fatty acids, acyl coenzyme A’s, organic acids, and purines.

My current studies in the Duke Molecular Physiology Institute (DMPI) are dedicated to development and deployment of methods for exploratory, non-targeted metabolomics.  My collaboration with Agilent Technologies, Inc., and Duke’s Michael J. Muehlbauer, Ph.D., has produced one of the world’s largest retention-time-locked spectral libraries of metabolites for use in gas chromatography/mass spectrometry.

I am especially interested in how metabolism impacts human health early (11, 12) and late (13) in life, and how the interplay among our gut microorganisms, our diet, and our endogenous human metabolism influences our health (14,15,16).

With William Lowe, M.D., Denise Scholtens, Ph.D., and their coworkers at Northwestern University, we are examining maternal and full-term neonatal metabolism in hundreds of families enrolled in the international Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes (HAPO) trial.  Preliminary data reveal that mothers with mildly elevated fasting plasma glucose (FPG) have metabolic perturbations spanning diverse biochemical pathways and suggest that depletion of 1,5-anhydroglucitol is a useful clinical marker of recent hyperglycemic excursions in high-FPG mothers (12). 

Pilot studies of underweight, premature, critically ill neonates treated at Duke Children’s Hospital (DCH) show striking departures of metabolism from that seen in full-term babies.  DMPI is embarking on an integrated study of metabolism, gut microbiota, and clinical outcomes in these vulnerable babies with Patricia Ashley, M.D., Ph.D., and her DCH colleagues.

Support from Duke’s Pepper Older Americans Independence Center enables us to provide metabolomic assays for investigators in gerontology and clinical geriatrics (13).  We are currently gathering samples for studies of osteoporosis and fracture risk in elderly patients with diabetes and for an investigation of the perceived acceleration of aging seen in elderly HIV patients undergoing highly active antiretroviral therapy or HAART.

Our studies of the metabolic impacts of gut microbes with Jeffrey I. Gordon, M.D., and his team at Washington University, have been fruitful (14,15), and have recently raised the possibility that our gut microbiome can contribute to the onset of obesity and insulin resistance (16).  We are partners with Dr. Gordon’s group and others in the Breast Milk, Gut Microbiome, and Immunity (BMMI) Project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  BMMI seeks to develop functional foods in which milk products, paired with specific, milk-adapted microbes, can be used to prevent and treat malnutrition in children.  Our initial metabolomic studies are looking at gnotobiotic mice colonized with gut microbes from Bangladeshi and Malawian children.

Working in close collaboration with Monte Willis, MD, PhD, MBA at UNC-CH, we have recently begun exploring the roles that the ubiquitin-ligase system plays in the etiology of heart disease.  Our work is based on a number of innovative in-vitro and in-vivo models. (17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24

Staff

Sara O'Neal

Current collaborations:

Throughout its decade-plus of operations (founded November, 2003), our Metabolomics Laboratory has collaborated widely in the metabolism of major human diseases.

How does a mother’s metabolism influence the health of her newborn baby? The Hyperglycemia and Adverse Pregnancy Outcomes (HAPO) study group at Northwestern University.

Can a study of metabolism and gut microbes teach us ways to improve the care of underweight, premature babies?  Duke Children’s Hospital.

 Can knowledge of breast milk composition and gut microbes guide development of “functional foods” to promote the health of young children at risk of malnutrition?  The Breast Milk, Microbiome, and Immunity (BMMI) project: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Center for Genome Sciences and Systems Biology, Washington University School of Medicine.

How does metabolism relate to functional outcomes in older Americans with chronic diseases?  Duke’s Claude D. Pepper Older American Independence Center (http://centerforaging.duke.edu/claude-d-pepper-oaic).

How does the ubiquitin-ligase system influence development of heart disease? Can it be manipulated to forestall or treat this disease?